Kevin Carroll covers the WWE NXT call-ups before the NXT 4, who haven’t done much since the hit the main roster.
When you hear the phrase “NXT call-ups,” what comes to mind? Certainly, it must be the newest crop of yellow-brand talent making its way to WWE TV, namely Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Ricochet and Aleister Black, right?
Did you even think twice about the “first” batch of call-ups from earlier this year? Did you even remember that crop of talent? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.
WWE has done a pretty damn good job elevating this latest wave of NXT call-ups to the main roster, establish them as main event talents with wins over big-time players over the last week or two. Already, in just that two weeks’ time, these four extraordinary talents have been positioned as forces to be reckoned with. Good for them.
But before the so-called “NXT Big Four” made their way to Monday and Tuesday nights, we had the footnotes of history, the original six superstars that were brought up to the main roster.
EC3. Lacey Evans. Heavy Machinery. Nikki Cross. Lars Sullivan. Where did they go wrong? Why have they been relegated to back-seat status while the Garganos and Ciampas of the world are out here picking up victories over the RAW Tag Team Champions?
Well, let’s take a look at what these superstars have been up to since being called up.
First up, the man formerly known as Ethan Carter (or Derrick Bateman, if you’re a fan of name-drops). He was the guy that, above all of the other names in this group of call-ups, was supposed to be WWE-ready. He didn’t seem a fit for NXT, so it was only natural that he be included as a blockbuster name in this class.
But what has he accomplished? I believe he has one win to his credit, if I’m not mistaken. The rest of his cameo appearances have come backstage as someone who just admires his physique all day. In fact, I don’t think he’s actually been on TV in weeks. So much for being someone that Vince would fawn over, huh?
And how about Nikki Cross? Another absentee face on the main roster, she could be seen standing on the stage for Ric Flair’s 70th birthday party celebration, but she hasn’t been seen in a ring in quite some time.
This was one of NXT’s best talents, regardless of gender. She had a major role in the biggest NXT storyline of 2018, the brilliant “who attacked Aleister?” saga. She’s got bundles of talent, a truly unique character, and has unlimited potential.
Where is she? Why was she last seen in-ring teaming with Alicia Fox in a losing effort against The Boss ‘n Hug Connection? She could be one of the main foils to Asuka on Smackdown Live, we’ve already seen them have great matches, why not make this a feud?
Lars Sullivan? Now, we still can’t be sure of his status after reportedly suffering a major anxiety attack before officially making his main-roster debut. It has been over a month, but as someone who has a first-hand knowledge of how devastating anxiety can be, I’ll leave him be.
Lacey Evans & Heavy Machinery
The most screen time of this group has been going to Lacey Evans and Heavy Machinery, probably my two least likely candidates to break out of this group.
But they haven’t done really anything worthwhile, have they? I mean, Lacey had a pretty solid showing in the Royal Rumble, but seems to be pretty content with her more recent appearances, in which she walks down to the ring, only to turn right the hell around and walk on back.
There’s talk that she’s going to be a major player going forward. When do they plan on starting that, exactly?
From an in-ring perspective, Heavy Machinery have somehow had the best run so far of this class of call-ups. Their goofy comedy shtick seems right up Vince’s alley, and they’ve already had two different #1 Contender’s matches on RAW and Smackdown. But even they have fallen victim to the curse plaguing this group of NXT talent.
Was this more recent wave of call-ups and the way they’ve been used an admission of guilt on Vince McMahon’s part? Was this him saying that he clearly goofed up the first batch of call-ups, and placing more of an emphasis on their in-ring work as opposed to confining them to backstage cameos is his way of atonement?
Well then, could we maybe go back and start doing the same thing for the first wave of NXT call-ups? They all deserve better than what they’ve been given so far, material wise.
It’s not too late to fix this, Vince. Do ALL of your NXT call-ups justice on the main roster, or let them go back to NXT where they could get the limelight they deserve.